August 8, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Rhea Mogul, Heather Chen, Amy Woodyatt and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 2:31 a.m. ET, August 9, 2022
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6:11 p.m. ET, August 8, 2022

Pentagon for the first time acknowledges sending previously undisclosed anti-radar missiles to Ukraine 

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

The Pentagon announced Monday that the US has sent anti-radar missiles for Ukrainian aircraft to target Russian radar systems. It marks the first time the Pentagon has acknowledged sending the previously undisclosed missile to Ukraine. 

Colin Kahl, the under secretary of Defense for Policy, said at a news briefing that the US had sent “a number” of the missiles without specifying how many the US has provided or when exactly they were sent. Kahl also did not explicitly say what type of anti-radiation missile.

A defense official told CNN the type of missile sent was the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM). 

Produced by Raytheon, HARMs have a range in excess of 30 miles (more than 48 kilometers), according to the US Air Force, making them one of the longer-range weapons the US has provided to Ukraine. The missiles can be used to target Russian anti-aircraft radar systems, such as the S-400, which have made it very difficult for the Ukrainian Air Force to operate over large swaths of Ukrainian airspace. The missiles can also target Russian counter-battery radars, which Russia uses to target Ukrainian artillery.

Kahl said the missiles had been sent over “in recent [Presidential Drawdown Authority] packages,” but the five most recent packages, dating back to July 1, make no mention of HARMs.

“In the near term, we’ve been doing lots of things to make Ukraine’s existing air force stay in the air and be more capable,” Kahl said.

He then pointed to the spare parts for Mig-29s the US helped send into Ukraine to keep the Soviet-era fighters flying. Kahl then mentioned the missiles, saying they “can have effects on Russian radars and other things.”

The Ukrainians have not publicly acknowledged receiving or using HARMs.

In recent days, open source reports have shown the remains of what appear to be the fin of a HARM missile that targeted a Russian position in Ukraine.  

6:01 p.m. ET, August 8, 2022

President Zelensky calls on Western countries to ban all Russian citizens 

From CNN’s Arnaud Siad in London

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Western countries should ban all Russian citizens from entering their country. 

In an interview with The Washington Post published on Monday, Zelensky said, “the most important sanctions are to close the borders — because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land.” 

The Ukrainian president said Russians should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy.”

Asked whether such a measure would unfairly impact those who left the country because they disagreed with the Kremlin, Zelensky said the distinction did not matter.

“Whichever kind of Russian… make them go to Russia," he said.

“They’ll say, ‘This [war] has nothing to do with us. The whole population can’t be held responsible, can it?’ It can. The population picked this government and they’re not fighting it, not arguing with it, not shouting at it,” Zelensky told the Washington Post.

“You’re telling the whole world that it must live by your rules. Then go and live there. This is the only way to influence Putin,” he added.

5:50 p.m. ET, August 8, 2022

Ukraine's Zelensky holds video call with former US President Bill Clinton 

From CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton and Victoria Butanko

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a video meeting with former US President Bill Clinton, Zelensky’s office announced.

Zelensky thanked Clinton for his support of Ukraine since the start of the war, according the the Ukrainian president's office

"The United States helps us prevent Russia from freezing this conflict. And this is exactly what Russia wants. We are well aware of what happens with ‘frozen conflicts.’ It stretches for years, for decades. We cannot allow that," Zelensky said on the call, according to his office. 

Zelensky called on Bill Clinton to use his personal authority to draw the attention of the world community to the shelling and mining of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and Russia's nuclear terror.

“It is extremely important for us that societies where freedom and democracy are fundamental values do not lose the feeling of urgency of the war in Ukraine. That is why conversations like this one are very useful for us," Zelensky said, according to his office. 

5:25 p.m. ET, August 8, 2022

Ukraine says Russia is committing "nuclear terrorism" against Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

From CNN’s Olga Voitovych and Karen Smith

Russia is continuing acts of “nuclear terrorism” on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and its personnel, Dmytro Lubinets, Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights said. 

Lubinets said that according to “International norms, an attack on a facility where nuclear or radiological materials are used is considered an act of nuclear terrorism. ‘Nuclear terrorism’ also includes actions aimed at disrupting, sabotaging, or manipulating operations at the plant that could lead to the release of radioactivity.”

Lubinets called on the UN Secretary General, the IAEA and the international community to take “possible measures to send a security mission to the Zaporizhzhia NPP, to completely demilitarize the territory of the NPP, and to provide security guarantees to the employees of the nuclear plant and residents of the city of Enerhodar for the maintenance of the plant.”

He added that he sent letters to international organizations with his appeal.

Some background: Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for recent artillery and rocket fire around the nuclear plant in central Ukraine, which UN Secretary General António Guterres described as "suicidal."

On Saturday, the director general of the IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said he was extremely concerned by the shelling "which underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond."

CNN cannot verify claims made by either Ukraine or Russia.

3:33 p.m. ET, August 8, 2022

US is providing the Ukrainian government $4.5 billion to help keep it functioning, USAID says

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

The United States will provide $4.5 billion to the government of Ukraine to help keep it functioning and to combat the budget deficit caused by the war, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on Monday.

“The resources provided today build on previous budget support, enabling the Ukrainian government to carry out core functions – for example, keeping gas and electricity flowing to hospitals, schools, and other critical infrastructure, supporting the provision of humanitarian supplies to citizens, and continuing to pay the salaries of civil servants, healthcare workers and teachers,” USAID said in a statement.

“Robust safeguards put in place by the World Bank, coupled with USAID-funded, expert third-party oversight embedded within the Ukrainian government, ensure accountability and transparency in the use of these funds,” they said.

The agency said the Ukrainian government would receive a $3 billion tranche of funding this month.

1:41 p.m. ET, August 8, 2022

Pentagon official: Russia has had between 70,000 to 80,000 casualties so far in Ukraine-Russia conflict

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Russia has had about 70,000 to 80,000 casualties so far in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Colin Kahl, Defense Department under secretary for policy, said during an on-camera briefing at the Pentagon on Monday. This figure includes both Russian forces killed and wounded in action.

“I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians have probably taken 70 or 80,000 casualties in the less than six months. Now that is a combination of killed in action and wounded in action, that number might be a little lower, little higher, but I think that’s kind of in the ballpark,” Kahl said.

Kahl said that number of casualties from Russian forces is “remarkable” considering Russia has “achieved none of Vladimir Putin’s objectives” since invading Ukraine at the end of February.

“The Ukrainian morale and will to fight is unquestioned, and much higher I think than the average will to fight on the Russian side, so I think that gives the Ukrainians a significant advantage,” Kahl added.

1:14 p.m. ET, August 8, 2022

"Huge consequences" for Ukraine and Europe if Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is compromised

From CNN's Jorge Engels and Tim Lister

Ukraine on Monday warned of catastrophic consequences if anything were to happen to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and said that Kremlin’s forces are preventing safety experts from visiting Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

“What will happen in the radius of 40-50 kilometers from the station, that’s absolutely not comparable even to Chernobyl or to Fukushima,” said Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk, Ukraine’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.

Tsymbaliuk said Ukraine would like to see a delegation of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations visit the station to monitor its status but that Russia’s military actions in Ukraine are making such a trip “impossible.”

“We will use all possible channels of diplomacy to bring IAEA and UN closer to conducting this mission. We really need it urgently,” Tsymbaliuk said at a news conference Monday.

His comments come after Russia and Ukraine traded blame for recent artillery and rocket fire around the nuclear plant in central Ukraine, which UN Secretary General António Guterres described as "suicidal." 

CNN cannot verify claims made by either Ukraine or Russia.

Meanwhile, a Russian representative claimed that Moscow sent out a diplomatic note stating that it is ready to assist the IAEA in a visit to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in central Ukraine.

Russian state media RIA Novosti reported Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s representative to International Organizations in Vienna, saying that a diplomatic note was sent out on Aug. 4 and distributed on Aug. 5. 

According to Ulyanov, the note also said Russia is interested in the IAEA taking into account criminal actions conducted by Kyiv and what he claimed is the campaign of disinformation that the Zelensky regime has launched.

On Saturday, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said he was extremely concerned by the shelling "which underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond."

12:56 p.m. ET, August 8, 2022

Pentagon announces additional $1 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine 

From CNN's Barbara Starr and Ellie Kaufman

The US Defense Department Monday announced a $1 billion package of additional weapons and security assistance for Ukraine in the latest round of military aid.

It is “the largest single drawdown of US arms and equipment” since August 2021 using presidential authorities to drawdown from US military stockpiles, according to a Pentagon statement. This marks the eighteenth drawdown by the Pentagon.

What the package includes: The package for the first time will have munitions for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), a US-Norwegian air defense system the Ukrainians need for shooting down Russian cruise missiles aimed at population centers.

The transfer of NASAMS itself could still be some days away according to US defense official. The first system to arrive is expected to be from Norway which can get it to Ukraine quicker than the US. 

This assistance package focuses heavily on additional ammunition and weapons which Ukraine forces have used successfully against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. There is additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition and 1,000 Javelin anti-tank weapons among key items. This is the first transfer of Javelin’s announced since June. There are also hundreds of AT4 anti-armor weapons included. 

12:47 p.m. ET, August 8, 2022

Ukrainian nuclear energy generator says rocket struck close to spent fuel storage

From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Kesaieva

As Russia and Ukraine blame each other for recent rocket and missile attacks close to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the head of Ukraine's state nuclear energy company says one strike Sunday was close to the processed fuel storage area.

Petro Kotin, Chair of Energoatom, said on Ukrainian television: "This is very dangerous, because the rockets hit 10 to 20 meters away from the storage, but if they had hit the containers with the processed fuel, it would be a radiation accident."  

Kotin suggested that if one container was hit "it will be a local accident on the territory of the plant and nearby territory. If its 2-3 containers — the affected area will increase." 

Kotin also said that during the shelling communication lines between the nuclear plant and the hydro-electric power plant and the Ukrainian energy system had been ruptured.

"As of now Zaporizhzhia NPP is only connected to the Ukrainian energy system with just one communication line. If all the lines are damaged, the plant will transfer to the so-called "black-out" mode, meaning become completely de-energized. And this situation will be very dangerous for keeping fuel in nuclear reactors in a safe condition."

Kotin said that Russian forces must be expelled from the plant and a demilitarized zone should be created on the territory of the plant.

"Since the beginning of the occupation we were saying that а security mission of peacekeepers should be present there, including the IAEA experts and other security organisations. The presence of peacekeepers in this zone and giving them the control of the plant first and then giving back the control to the Ukrainian side would have solved the problem."

Kotin repeated Ukrainian claims that Russia had moved weapons into the plant's power units. "There are 14 units of heavy military equipment in the first power unit. There are 6 vehicles in the second engine room and we don't know what is inside those vehicles. There's heavy weaponry as well."

He also claimed that Russian troops had occupied all the shelters at the power plant and workers had nowhere to go when shelling occurred.